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With “Turandot” the lyrical season of Colón continues tonight

With “Turandot” the lyrical season of Colón continues tonight

Aníbal Lápiz: Yes, she was the second Turandot of this production, in 1994. The first, a year before, was Galina Savova. With Eva Marton we also did it several times abroad.

Q.: And it even came to Luna Park because of the popularity it had.

TO THE: Exactly, it was done on Luna. There, at first, Oswald did not want to perform it, he was not sure, the acoustics, the place, in short. He didn’t like the idea. When we received the proposal we were working in Dublin. But I insisted, I told him that it was interesting because another, more popular audience was going to go to Luna Park, that audience that for one reason or another is afraid of Colón. And in the end it was such a great success that there were eight performances for eight thousand people each, something that had never happened before at Luna Park, because the “Madama Butterfly” that they had brought from La Plata, had four performances planned and they had to do only two. There was no public.

Q: This “Turandot” has a spectacular nature that is unusual in our environment.

TO THE: It’s true. Perhaps only our “Aida” is similar. And it is so beautiful that people see it in the Colón. With all the living forces it has, the people who work, the workshops.

Turandot by Giacomo Puccini – Season 2019 – Photo (c) Arnaldo Colombaroli.JPG

Q: How was the version created?

TO THE: Look, I did it so many times, some with Oswald, others by myself, that sometimes my memories get confused. It seems to me that it premiered first in Chile, because it was a joint production. That on the one hand helps, but on the other it makes the procedures greater, because every time we represented it in a different city, Chile sent one thing, Columbus sent another. The locker room was shared, half was made there, half here. We couldn’t find enough workshops for everything that needed to be done. It’s only when you see it that you realize how huge it is. Finally, at the Colón it was decided that they wanted to have it entire, and everything was done here. And here we are, once again.

Q: What memories did some of those performances leave you?

TO THE: Some very good, but also others. I worked with practically all the Turandots. From the famous to the not famous. Among the first, Eva Marton, Ghena Dimitrova, and a German singer, a very pleasant person, named Gabriele Schnaut, who had sung a lot at the Metropolitan in New York.

Q..: Dimitrova sang it at the Colón in the late 70s.

TO THE: Yes, but it wasn’t our version. She sang in ours in Caracas, at the Teresa Carreño theater. There she confessed to me that her husband had died in an accident and that she was no longer interested in living. She was going through a deep depression, she told me that she was going to retire, that she was going to leave everything to her niece. So she did it, and shortly after she passed away. She was still young, her career could have continued quite a bit. That is one of the sad memories of her.

Q: What was that Venezuelan “Turandot” like?

TO THE: Something very funny happened. To set it up we brought everything from here, but it was not the current scenery: there were not the stone warriors but the chimeras, those famous Chinese dogs. And then we discovered that they didn’t fit in the containers: the dogs had to be sawed off and then rebuilt there. We traveled with technicians from Colón to do all that reconstruction. And the most unusual thing was that in Caracas they were waiting for us to accompany the production to the Teresa Carreño: there was the army, motorcycles, television cameras, newspapers to take photos. Incredible! But they couldn’t do any of that because the sculptures were in pieces, we had to ask that no one see them. Those chimeras were huge and no one had calculated that they would not fit into the containers. Well, as big as the warriors are now.

Q.: Those warriors are among the pieces most admired by those who visit the Colón Fábrica in La Boca, so a large part of the public who has not seen this display before will recognize them.

TO THE: Of course, they were there until the week before they were brought to Colón to begin rehearsals. The same as Turandot’s costume, which was displayed at the entrance.

Q.: With “Turandot”, his last opera, the Colón commemorates the centenary of Puccini’s death. It is known that he left it unfinished, and that Franco Alfano finished it. But some time ago an avant-garde composer, Luciano Berio, wrote another ending for it. Much less spectacular. Did he ever listen to it?

TO THE: It’s possible, but I don’t have it in mind. Anyway, all of us who love Puccini agree, I think, that “Turandot” should end with Liù’s suicide, which is where Puccini interrupted it. That happy ending that the opera has is not worth it at all… He is not a character that deserves it. It’s not a good ending.

Q.: That “they lived happily ever after” script, and the cigarette, would have precipitated Puccini’s death.

TO THE: There are those who maintain that this argument has to do with his personal history, because Puccini was married and, supposedly, had relations with his maid, who ended up committing suicide. And he returned to his wife, Elvira, when that girl died. The incredible thing is that, when they performed the autopsy, it was proven that the girl died a virgin.

Q.: In 2008 a film was made about this topic, “Puccini e la fanciulla”, which does not leave Elvira in a very good light. I remember that Simonetta Puccini, her granddaughter, who was still alive and represented all of her grandfather’s interests, started a lawsuit against the director of the film. But let’s go to another topic, unavoidable when talking about “Turandot”. What a shadow must be, for any tenor, Pavarotti’s “Nessun dorma”!

TO THE: Ah, yes, tremendous shadow! There was no one like him to sing that aria, which also made it famous even among people who are not interested in opera. Not even Plácido Domingo sang it the same way. Now I see the tenors and it seems to me that they get nervous when the “Nessun dorma” comes, and it came out to Pavarotti completely naturally. He would stand on stage, or at any of his many recitals, and make no effort. That final “Vinceró” came out as if nothing had happened. The same tenors who sing it now say it, that throat and that memory haunts them.

Source: Ambito

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